The migration of workers from Bulgaria and Romania is a marginal phenomenon, according new figures just published by Eurostat. Mediterranean countries, and notably Spain, are the exception.
One million workers from the two countries, which joined the EU at the beginning of the year, have migrated to find work elsewhere in Europe, according to Eurostat's Labour Force Survey, published on 8 November.
54% have chosen Spain as their destination. As a result, Bulgarians and Romanians comprise one in every forty workers in the Iberian country.
A quarter of a million have moved to Italy, where Bulgarians and Romanians make up for about one percent of the workforce. Greece received 37,000 workers from the two countries, who make up 0.8% of the total number of workers, and Cyprus 4,000 (1%). In Mediterranean countries, Bulgarians and Romanians work mainly as seasonal workers in the agriculture sector, competing with migrant workers from Northern Africa and from those Balkan countries which have not yet joined the EU.
In all other countries, the proportions of Bulgarians and Romanians are measured in tenths of a percent of the workforce. This includes Germany and Austria, who have decided to keep their borders closed to all but a few workers from central and eastern Europe, and the UK, which allows workers from the countries which joined the EU in May 2004, but not from the two most recent member states.
When total figures of migrants from the two countries are compared with the active working age population, it turns out that migrants have reached an employment quota that EU countries can only dream of: 80% of working-age Bulgarians who have settled outside their home country are in a job.
|Receiving country||BG and RO citizens, in thousands||BG and RO citizens, as % of resident active working age population|
Eurostat Labour Force Survey
, 2007 spring results.